"Fair" Elections Act

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MegB
"Fair" Elections Act

The Harper government's latest surprise attack on democracy:

Quote:
- Fails to give the Commissioner of Elections the authority to compel witnesses to give evidence. Commissioner Yves Cote has said that his inability to legally compel witnesses was hampering the investigation of more than 1,400 complaints about false or misleading telephone calls to electors in the 2011 election.

-  Denies election officials the investigative power to compel political parties and their riding associations to provide financial documentation to support their financial returns.
-  Fails to hold political parties to account for the authorized use of its data base by those who have access to it.

-  Requires the Commissioner to inform a politician in writing if they are to be investigated for a breach of election laws, a statutory heads-up not provided to anyone else in broader society.

-  Muzzles the Chief Electoral Officer from making allegations of electoral fraud public.

-  Shifts the appointment of the Commissioner of Elections from the Chief Electoral Officer to a federal civil servant.

-  Raises the limits on political donations by 25 per cent, from $1200 to $1500. This benefits the Conservative party who have more big donors who give the maximum amount.

-  Increases the election-spending limits for each party by 5 per cent, which was about $21 million in the last election.

-  Stops voters from using the voter card sent out by Elections Canada as valid ID. This could mean that some Indigenous people, young people, seniors, homeless, even those without a drivers licence, may not be able to exercise their right to vote.

-  Forbids Elections Canada from launching ad campaigns to encourage people to vote.

“The Unfair Elections Act aims to suppress the vote of groups that may not vote Conservative including students, Indigenous people, seniors, and people on low-incomes by eliminating the vouching system,” said Jessica McCormick, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “The Chief Electoral Officer should be given more scope, not less, to encourage Canadians to vote. Dropping voting rates are not an excuse to strip the office of this function –- it’s a reason to bolster this role.”

http://rabble.ca/news/2014/02/more-60000-canadians-signed-petitions-agai...

onlinediscountanvils

Quote:

-  Forbids Elections Canada from launching ad campaigns to encourage people to vote.

This is the only positive measure in the lot.

MegB

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Quote:

-  Forbids Elections Canada from launching ad campaigns to encourage people to vote.

This is the only positive measure in the lot.

Far outdone by the damage of the rest of the Act.

Unionist

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Quote:

-  Forbids Elections Canada from launching ad campaigns to encourage people to vote.

This is the only positive measure in the lot.

Very much agree. Even though the main aim of the bill is to weaken any oversight.

[By the way, how uncool is it that "oversight" means both quality-control and slip-up?]

DLivings

Unionist wrote:

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Quote:

-  Forbids Elections Canada from launching ad campaigns to encourage people to vote.

This is the only positive measure in the lot.

Very much agree. Even though the main aim of the bill is to weaken any oversight.

[By the way, how uncool is it that "oversight" means both quality-control and slip-up?]

As an educator, I can't agree...   aside from how it favors incumbents of old parties, the loss of the vote promotion campaigns that particularly target secondary school students (readiness to vote) and young adults is a strike against democracy.  Citizenship education is a public responsibility.

Unionist

DLivings wrote:

As an educator, I can't agree...   aside from how it favors incumbents of old parties, the loss of the vote promotion campaigns that particularly target secondary school students (readiness to vote) and young adults is a strike against democracy.  Citizenship education is a public responsibility.

Two questions:

1. Is "citizenship education" currently part of the syllabus at any level of the school systems? If not, should it be?

2. I'm unfamiliar with the vote promotion campaigns run by Elections Canada. If you know more about them, do they qualify in your view as "citizenship education"?

mmphosis

Rewriting our Elections Laws (elizabethmaymp.ca)

Quote:
It was introduced for First Reading on Tuesday, February 4 and the hammer came down to limit debate on Thursday. By Monday night, February 10, it had cleared Second Reading. This is an administration in a hurry.

Relativistic Mystic

In regard to Pierre Poilievre, Minister of State for Democratic Reform, what does democratic reform truly mean? Does this mean that the government wishes to reform the way we exercise democracy, or does it involve changing the definition altogether? It seems that the currently tabled Elections Act serves only to take away the rights of voters and of Elections Canada to ensure fair and democratic elections in this country. A government should be committed to ensuring that all citizens of voting age are allowed impartial access to voting centres and to the right to a vote at all. If the robocalls incidents are any indication, it would seem that political parties in Canada are more committed to ensuring that they win, or that other parties lose elections that conducting them fairly and openly. (This refers, not only to the Federal Conservatives robocalls, but also those in provicial politics, such as members of the Wildrose party in Alberta.) A position such as Minister of State for Democratic Reform should be committed to ensuring the 'one man, one vote' ethos of fair elections. Instead, this minister has tabled an act that will ensure a partial and biased voting system, one that appears to favour the upper classes. If a person without an address cannot vote, does that mean he does not matter? If a person loses the right to vouch for another person, to go under oath and state that she knows the person vouched for and affirms their name and address, does that person matter less? I myself, the first time I voted, was vouched for by my older brother. My ID stated a different address than that which I lived at and I did not have any mail to prove I lived where I said I did. My brother's oath affirmed that I was who I said I was and gave me the right to vote. If this system is done away with, many people could lose the right to vote. If we lose the right to vote, it seems we do not have any rights at all since the right to a fair say is one of the pinnacles of democracy. It would appear that this position of Minister for Democratic Reform is really an agent for democratic disestablisment.

DLivings

Unionist wrote:

DLivings wrote:

As an educator, I can't agree...   aside from how it favors incumbents of old parties, the loss of the vote promotion campaigns that particularly target secondary school students (readiness to vote) and young adults is a strike against democracy.  Citizenship education is a public responsibility.

Two questions:

1. Is "citizenship education" currently part of the syllabus at any level of the school systems? If not, should it be?

Citizenship education shows up more as learning about systems, the hows and whys of democratic structure... and this includes "rights and responsibilities" of citizens.  My experience in western Canada that these programs don't adequately promote the notion of democratic participation.

Unionist wrote:

2. I'm unfamiliar with the vote promotion campaigns run by Elections Canada. If you know more about them, do they qualify in your view as "citizenship education"?

Elections Canada's vote promotion activities are really quite narrow and do something that most curricula don't do.  During election campaigns they simply say "Get out and vote.  It's your responsibility."  For school age children they have taken to suppor mock voting during campaigns, and while that's weak in one sense, it does build some patterns.  It doesn't and shouldn't get into promoting partisan positions or even thinking.  A good school program and a good teacher will prod students to consider and debate important issues and approaches.

Brachina
arielc

The CPC convention isn't exactly a Harper love-in this time. Brad Wall and Jim Prentice have spokken for oil and gas regulation and respect for First Nations rights and the enviironment. Now Preston Manning speaks against Harper's election reform act.

 

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/4392156-preston-manning-says-elections...

OTTAWA - Preston Manning, the former Reform Party leader who's become an elder statesman of the Canadian conservative movement, has chided the Harper government for its electoral reform efforts. In a speech to his namesake convention on Saturday, Manning said the Conservatives should be strengthening, not weakening, the powers of Elections Canada. Manning said the government should amend its Fair Elections Act currently before the House of Commons to address the "greatest challenge" to Canada's electoral system — declining voter turnout across the country. Conservative governments, conservative opposition parties and the conservative movement need to constantly affirm and re-affirm their commitment to extending, rather than limiting, democratic expression, Manning said.

MegB

Relativistic Mystic wrote:

In regard to Pierre Poilievre, Minister of State for Democratic Reform, what does democratic reform truly mean? Does this mean that the government wishes to reform the way we exercise democracy, or does it involve changing the definition altogether? It seems that the currently tabled Elections Act serves only to take away the rights of voters and of Elections Canada to ensure fair and democratic elections in this country. A government should be committed to ensuring that all citizens of voting age are allowed impartial access to voting centres and to the right to a vote at all. If the robocalls incidents are any indication, it would seem that political parties in Canada are more committed to ensuring that they win, or that other parties lose elections that conducting them fairly and openly. (This refers, not only to the Federal Conservatives robocalls, but also those in provicial politics, such as members of the Wildrose party in Alberta.) A position such as Minister of State for Democratic Reform should be committed to ensuring the 'one man, one vote' ethos of fair elections. Instead, this minister has tabled an act that will ensure a partial and biased voting system, one that appears to favour the upper classes. If a person without an address cannot vote, does that mean he does not matter? If a person loses the right to vouch for another person, to go under oath and state that she knows the person vouched for and affirms their name and address, does that person matter less? I myself, the first time I voted, was vouched for by my older brother. My ID stated a different address than that which I lived at and I did not have any mail to prove I lived where I said I did. My brother's oath affirmed that I was who I said I was and gave me the right to vote. If this system is done away with, many people could lose the right to vote. If we lose the right to vote, it seems we do not have any rights at all since the right to a fair say is one of the pinnacles of democracy. It would appear that this position of Minister for Democratic Reform is really an agent for democratic disestablisment.

I'd change that to "one person, one vote", but apart from that, I quite agree.

arielc

Some things don't change:

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/did-stephen-harper-misca...

Here was Sun News columnist and Liberal insider Warren Kinsella's take on Poilievre's appointment last July:

Pipsqueak, who Harper actually named minister of state for democratic reform, is in fact one of the most despicable, loathsome politicians to ever grace the national stage. He is a pestilence made flesh.

:lol:

BALONEY METER: Poilievre statement on Fair Elections Act put to the test
http://www.calgaryherald.com/touch/story.html?id=9718204

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Atleast Trudeau vows to repeal this 'act'

Give credit where credit is due.

Poilievre strikes me as someone who was kicked the shit out of everyday in high school...Hence his offensiveness.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

MUlcair is way ahead on this. He has asked 71 questions on this; Trudeau, 3. NDp have spent 32% of their time attacking on this, the Libs only 6%. I am willing to give Trudeau credit all right, credit for nothing!

Brachina

 The only reasoTrudeau would repeal the act is because it gives the Tories a bigger advantage then him. Trudeau cares not an ounce of democracy.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Libs at HP say, hey we're 3rd party so don't expect us to waste a lot of time asking about Fair Elections Act. If you ask them what cud be more important, they tell you know nothing about Parlimentary procedure, and should yield to their intellectual superiority. What a bunch of cry babies. I can recall plenty of times when the NDP had limited questions and remained laser focused on an issue. How do you think we got Universal Helath Care, CPP, EI, etc? They are such smug morons. Considering how many insults they hurl at me, I have to wonder why if I am such a loser? Pathetic!

nicky

Tom just pummelled Harper and Poiliviere about the FEA in QP yesterday.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/fair-elections-act-draws-more-heat-in-qu...

I especially like the part where he asks Harper about why he put such a "lightweight" in charge of this act.

terrytowel

Former MP Carolyn Parrish tweeted

"We all knew a Poilievre in school. Never chewed gum, shouted answers, did homework, sneered at lesser students & got stuffed into lockers!"

Brachina
Bacchus

terrytowel wrote:

Former MP Carolyn Parrish tweeted

"We all knew a Poilievre in school. Never chewed gum, shouted answers, did homework, sneered at lesser students & got stuffed into lockers!"

 

Kewl attack and belittle the person not the actions and thus drive more of the indecisive majority into the Harper camp. Good job parrish

arielc
terrytowel

Conservative senator Linda Frum OP-ED in Globe and Mail

Elections Canada has a conflict of interest

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/elections-canadas-conflict-o...

totesmagotes

Rebecca West wrote:

 

The Harper government's latest surprise attack on democracy:

 

-  Requires the Commissioner to inform a politician in writing if they are to be investigated for a breach of election laws, a statutory heads-up not provided to anyone else in broader society.

 

510.2 of the bill:

The notice is not to be given if, in the Commissioner’s opinion, to do so might compromise or hinder the investigation or any other investigation.

Wilf Day

The Conservative Senators were unanimous in recommending amendments. Hmm.

Harper will accept their small amendments, keep the points he wants in the bill, appear to back down gracefully, make his Senators look good, and make the Senate look worthwhile.

Ahah! How long have they been planning this?

Why are the media buying this?

jerrym

terrytowel wrote:

Conservative senator Linda Frum OP-ED in Globe and Mail

Elections Canada has a conflict of interest

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/elections-canadas-conflict-o...

Con Senator Linda  tweeted “Elections Canada should not have a vested interest in recording a high voter turnout. That’s a conflict.”

Of course Linda has no conflict of interest since she will never have to face election with her current job for life.

NorthReport

Duh!

Conservatives unhappy with Poilievre’s ‘bombastic’ style on elections overhaul bill

 

http://www.hilltimes.com/news/news/2014/04/21/conservatives-unhappy-with...

NorthReport
NorthReport

A great article about our the lose of our democracy by one of my favourite columnists

Harper sees role as protector of the rich and powerful

23_147404

Why do I know that Stephen Harper would hate these guys?

You have probably never heard of Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page but their message just might wake up dozing Canadians oblivious to the decline of our democracy.

They are professors from Princeton and Northwestern universities and they have just pronounced American democracy dead. Some have already called this the “Duh Report” because the ugly truth has been apparent for quite some time: The United States is now the land of the rich and the home of the knave; an oligarchy.

I know. Stephen Harper would say the professors are perpetrating sociology. Perhaps. But sociology beats the ongoing Big Brother impersonation that this prime minister passes off as democracy.

Harper’s grip on power is based on ignorance being strength. As poll after poll confirms, his strongest support is from people who know the least about public issues, the bumper-sticker crowd. What could be wrong with Bill C-23? It’s called the Fair Elections Act, right?

Conversely, the more people learn about Harper policy, the less they like it. Hence the need for all those commercials aimed at the ill-informed and disengaged — paid for by taxpayers. The prime minister now reports on himself in a weekly video. It wastes the time of up to four officials from the PCO and other staff members from the PMO. It is a raging success; 21 viewers for the French language version in Quebec. Of course, Harper cannot share with us how much it costs to produce. We are the piggy-bank, the government is the pig.

Back to the professors. In a democracy, the will of the people is supposed to be paramount. But in an America built by too many Republican administrations, where government and business are one in the same, the average citizen has all the power of a small animal going over Niagara Falls. The way the professors see it, the rich few dominate policy, the plankton people have no influence. That is not democracy.

“A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18% of the time”, the professors write, “while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five elites in favour) is adopted about 45% of the time.”

The professors found that when a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites or “organized interests” they generally lose. Worse, even when “fairly large majorities of Americans” favour policy change, they generally don’t get it if it collides with the status quo that elite interest groups are constantly lobbying to maintain.

As reported by the BBC, the professors arrived at their conclusion by breaking down answers to 1,179 survey questions asked over a twenty year period from 1981 forward. They separated the responses by income level and then connected how often various income levels and organized groups saw their policy choices realized.

The road to oligarchy in the United States ran through the U.S. Supreme Court. In two major, and I would argue disastrous decisions, the court extended personhood to corporations and lifted campaign funding limits during elections. As a result, government of the many has become government of the money.

And part of a comment:

And Trudeau - with his fundraiser Stephen Bronfman - will really change the plutocracy we are developing?
They are from the elites, themselves. Trudeau's empty rhetoric about the middle class - which he and Bronfman have never spent one moment in - rings hollow.
Trudeau never speaks of the growing numbers among the working poor - the almost one million Canadians who depend upon food banks!
Trudeau's support for a massive corporate tax cut to 15% and support for Harper's oil/pipeline strategy of shipping raw bitumen - and good, value-added Cdn jobs - to the US via the XL pipeline and to China via the Kinder Morgan pipeline makes him Harper-lite at best.


http://www.ipolitics.ca/2014/04/20/harper-sees-role-as-protector-of-the-...

terrytowel

If you live in Ontario tune into the Agenda tonight on TVO. They will have a one hour debate on the issue featuring Pierre Poilievre: Reforming Electoral Law and Craig Scott: Opposing the Election Reform Bill.

http://theagenda.tvo.org/episode/203094/all-is-fair-in-love-and-elections

Patterns

 

They say that politicians are swayed by public opinion and have an aversion to mockery, especially when it is used to point out a truth. I've chosen to voice my opinion about the Fair Elections Act and Mr. Harper via letters, petitions and in derisive satire.

I've created images to visually state my opinion, and as I have no objections to sharing these opinions with others, please feel free to pass them along.

The images can be found at http://politicalhippo.imgur.com/ If they can be of any use to you in the protest against the Fair Elections Act, please avail yourself.

Further,

Mr. Harper intends that Bill C-23 be passed in June and he is using pages from the American Republican Party playbook to achieve that end. It can be said that democracy is in danger on both sides of the border and to date, no one has pointed that out. Though one can only speculate on the reasons that Mr. Harper and the GOP are advancing these policies in tandem, the fact remains that they are.

Bill C-23 mirrors the GOP on their voting rights agenda. In terms of reasoning, rhetoric, strategy and tactical implementation, the parallels are obvious and in some cases identical – hobbling the Elections Commission, disenfranchising via voter identification, lifting limits on party spending, etc,. Does that sound familiar? To see for yourself the best examples of the GOP efforts, look no further than the Voting Rights section on the Rachel Maddow website at http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show

Compare these examples to Bill C-23 and it becomes apparent that by passing the Fair Elections Act in June, Mr. Harper would be imposing GOP ideology/policies on Canadians. Any government's purposeful disenfranchising of its citizens is an affront to democracy. Even though Mr. Harper and the GOP describe themselves as defenders of democracy, they continue to do their best in passing laws to impede it.

The Fair Elections Act is an oxymoron. Canadians should insist on the very opposite of Mr. Harper's proposals – we should be emboldening our election Commissions, encouraging voter participation, and demanding stricter accountability from politicians.

Bill C-23 is a bad Bill and should just be withdrawn. The irony in this of course, is that the powers that be will be exercising their right to vote on a Bill that will limit ours.

 

 

Patterns

This image and 5 others are available for your use at  http://politicalhippo.imgur.com/

Canadian Unfair Elections Act

NorthReport

Mulcair was at his usual best again in QP today on this topic and others.

Mulcair to Harper: Let’s talk

Thomas Mulcair is calling the proposed amendments to the Fair Elections Act, unexpectedly announced by Pierre Poilievre last Friday, a result of the New Democrats fighting “tooth and nail” against the controversial bill.

In a speech delivered the the NDP caucus the morning MPs returned to the Hill after a two-week break, Mulcair took shots at both the Conservatives — for what he said is an attempt to rig the next election with the bill — and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau — for being “missing in action” in the debate for weeks.

The government, Mulcair said, is “more interested in their own partisan interests than in your fundamental right to vote. That’s why New Democrats have been fighting the Unfair Elections Act at every turn.”

And “while the NDP was fighting this bill… the Liberal leader decided to play hookie,” he said. “Well, that’s simply not good enough.”


http://www.ipolitics.ca/2014/04/28/mulcair-to-harper-lets-talk/

NorthReport

Elections bill changes to come within 3 days, Conservatives say

The Canadian Press Posted: Apr 28, 2014 9:12 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 28, 2014 3:05 PM ET

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says pressure from his party forced the Conservatives to back down on their changes to the Elections Act - and now he wants to see the details of amendments to the bill, C-23.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says pressure from his party forced the Conservatives to back down on their changes to the Elections Act - and now he wants to see the details of amendments to the bill, C-23. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/elections-bill-changes-to-come-within-3-...

NorthReport

Both Toms are on a roll it seems but Trudeau and the Liberals are once again missing in action. :

Elections bill illustrates Harper’s vindictiveness, pragmatism, Flanagan says

The federal government's controversial proposed overhaul of election laws illustrates the ruthless, vindictive and hyper-partisan side of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's character, a former chief of staff says.

But Tom Flanagan says the fact the Conservative government has suddenly backed down on some of the most objectionable aspects of the bill shows another side of the prime minister — his capacity to be pragmatic and realistic.

"The whole episode illustrates the complexity of the man," Flanagan said in an interview.

As originally proposed, Bill C-23 would muzzle the chief electoral officer, hive the investigator of election law breaches off Elections Canada, boost campaign spending and donation limits, create a loophole that would allow rich, established parties to spend untold millions more during election campaigns and potentially disenfranchise tens of thousands of Canadians by ending the practice of vouching for voters without proper ID.

Flanagan noted that Harper has had "this antipathy to Elections Canada" for decades, dating back to his time as head of the National Citizens Coalition, when he challenged limits on third party campaign spending all the way to the Supreme Court. That hostility was exacerbated by the watchdog agency's successful prosecution of the Conservative party for orchestrating a scheme to spend more than $1 million over its spending limit during the 2006 campaign.

"So, the initial version of the bill really did seem to be aimed at Elections Canada, taking away powers, clipping what it can do and, along the way, putting in some features that would appear to help the Conservatives at the expense of other parties," Flanagan said.

"So you might say that bill, the original bill, may have expressed the vindictive side of the prime minister, you know, pay-back time."

Last Friday's partial climb-down, however, showed Harper's pragmatic side, he added.

 

http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2014/04/28/elections-bill-illustrates-h...

terrytowel

NorthReport wrote:

Mulcair was at his usual best again in QP today on this topic and others.

The Liberals, feeling a bit threatened, appeared on the panel shows today saying that the changes to the Fair Election Act were the result of public push back. Not Mulcair's QP performance.

Liberal commentator Rob Silver tweeted

"Lost in the excitement of last night's Raptors win is it only happened thanks to Tom Mulcair and the NDP. Well done big guy, well done."

And

"The NDP are also taking credit for it being Friday. Making today Friday was a NDP initiative and without Tom Mulcair, today would be Tuesday."

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Yep, the Libs are worried about this. And they should be. There Leader can't talk about issues; he has to be able to spin and push without being challenged. He'll fold like a cheap suit if he is.

nicky

Tom pummels Kenney and Poilivere in QP today. Trudeau nowhere to be seen;

http://www.cpac.ca/en/programs/question-period/episodes/90003209/

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

nicky wrote:

Tom pummels Kenney and Poilivere in QP today. Trudeau nowhere to be seen;

http://www.cpac.ca/en/programs/question-period/episodes/90003209/

Maybe sooner or later it'll finally start catching up with him.